St. George seeks grant for lobster processing businessSea Hag Seafoods taking over Great Eastern Mussel building on Long Cove.
St. George — Town Manager John Falla said the town should be notified early this week if its application on behalf of Sea Hag Seafoods Inc. has been accepted to receive money for a lobster processing business in the former Great Eastern Mussel building on Long Cove.
The St. George Select Board met Monday, July 2 to consider a land tax abatement, receive a presentation about the town's website and review the status of a state grant for Sea Hag Seafoods Inc. The business expects to employ 20 seasonal workers and 15 full-time employees.
Falla has been certified to administer Community Development Block Grants following two days of training in Augusta last week. If accepted to receive the grant funds, the state will award the town money and the town will draw from that account to distribute to Sea Hag Seafoods Inc. once jobs are created and requirements are met.
Falla said the training was informative and he was able to discuss the program with other town managers and planners in the state.
Marguerite Cutroni, technology adviser to the town, presented to the board the development of the town's website since 2008 and future additions to the site to aid town office functions and improve operational efficiency. By mid-July, it is hoped the site will include online boat re-registration and absentee ballot requests. The board approved the proposed developments to the town website.
At the June 7 select board meeting, the board considered assessor Bob Gingras' recommendation to reduce assessed land values by 20 percent. The board agreed to have Gingras come in again to speak to the board at the July 16 meeting. "I think it's a reasonable and good solution," said Board Member William Reinhardt.
Falla recommended the board wait on making adjustments to land values (homes and buildings are not included in the proposed adjustment) until the yearly state report was received. "I think we agreed that we are in a very unstable real estate market at this time," he said.
Falla said he was hesitant to make decisions based upon an unstable market. "We have no trends, we go from 64 percent to 189 percent for sales ratio for April ," he said.
"My feeling is that if we're getting higher, the state would agree we did a re-evaluation in one of the worst situations in the real estate market," he said. Falla suggested the town wait and base an adjustment on trends.
Select Board Chairman John Snow said he had conversations with people concerned the assessed values are high. "There is considerable pressure that we do something, whether 20 percent makes sense is a good question," he said. "We understand what's happening out there."
In other business, the board decided not to install a street light at the corner of Wallston Road and Route 131 due to the expense of leasing the equipment. To address safety concerns, the board discussed erecting a sign to indicate an intersection.
The board went into executive session at 9 p.m. to discuss a poverty abatement request.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or at JLaaka @courierpublicationsllc.com